Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's Time to Play-Hands on With the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

I’ve been a fan of the PSP for a long time and although I’ve been following the latest developments in that arena - considering the NGP - I’ve been looking forward to the PSP phone aka the Xperia Play a lot more. I’ve been covering this device since it was but a rumour so naturally, I just had to be there when Sony Ericsson launched both the Xperia Play and the Arc into the Indian market. Since I had already reviewed the Xperia Arc I was eager to see just what the Xperia Play had to offer. Grabbing the opportunity to ‘play’ around with the device here’s what I thought.

Form Factor
It’s a bit of a bulky handset which is in stark contrast to the Arc that I had been using for the last week. It’s bulkier and heavier, obviously, considering it’s pretty much a PSP Go with a phone thrown in. The Play has taken on the more traditional Human Curvature form that Sony Ericsson concocted last year. Irrespective of the size or the weight, the handset felt very comfortable to use both as a phone and as a gaming device.

The gaming keypad slid out smoothly and the buttons are well spaced to make for comfortable gameplay even at long intervals. The gaming keys at the top, however, accessible from behind the display (when opened) will take a little getting used to for access. Those with slim or long fingers won’t have an issue. But after about 10 minutes of thrashing around with the device it was quite evident that this was designed to be exactly what one would look for if they wanted a slightly better mobile phone gaming experience.

I’m certainly glad Sony Ericsson decided to retain the large high resolution display but was a little disappointed with the lack of an HDMI port. Imagine being able to hook up the handset to an HDTV (like the Arc) and playing games on a large screen. Then again Sony’s own NGP doesn’t seem to feature HDMI out support either.

On the whole, I believe the Xperia Play to be a rather robust handset that’s quite well designed for comfortable use on both of its major USPs.

Loaded up with a Qualcomm Scorpion processor of the 1Ghz variety, the Play is designed to offer quite a bit of functionality and power management to users. With the added support of Google’s Gingerbread version of the Android OS, things have the potential to be quite fluid and controlled. The test units that were available at the launch proved to be quite smooth with virtually no lag whatsoever while scrolling through menus, accessing apps or any other functions. I doubt there’ll be an issue with speed when the handset finally makes it to my review lab. Here’s hoping.


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